I’m going to just preface this by saying one thing: if you’re a Purdue fan who is a college football absolutist, believing the only thing that matters is wins and losses, this story isn’t going to be your cup of tea. For the Boilermaker supporters who stuck around, thank you. Hopefully it’s worth your while.

Now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about the state of Purdue football right now, shall we? I know a 2-5 record with just one B1G win isn’t exactly where most of you thought this program would be in Year 3 of the Jeff Brohm era.  After seeing what the Boilermakers accomplished in the first two years under the new regime, a bowl game felt like a guarantee in 2019, and a shot at the B1G West didn’t seem too inconceivable.

Seven games into the year, Purdue has no chance to win the B1G West and is already on the verge of bowl elimination. In order to reach the postseason for a third consecutive year, the Boilers would need to win four of their final five games.

Based on what’s transpired through the first eight weeks of the season, that’s probably not a realistic expectation.

Fortunately, though, you’re not a college football absolutist. You can look past the fact that Purdue has been on the wrong side of the scoreboard five times this fall, knowing the kind of success this program is primed to enjoy in the coming years.

As bad as the 2019 campaign has been for Purdue thus far, watching the product on the field has essentially been like looking into a crystal ball and discovering what the future holds. Make sure you have your sunglasses, because it’s pretty bright.

Due to a lack of depth and magnified by a scroll of injuries, Brohm has been forced to play numerous freshmen throughout the season. This week, Purdue will have eight true or redshirt freshmen starting against Illinois. In previous games against Maryland and Iowa, that total was nine.

The number of true and redshirt freshmen included on the two-deep? 21.

It’s at quarterback, wide receiver, running back and offensive line. It’s on the defensive line, at linebacker and in the secondary. Not even special teams is immune to the youth movement. Everywhere you look on Purdue’s depth chart, you’re going to find the “Fr.” abbreviation.

Obviously, that’s a significant reason why the Boilermakers aren’t collecting tallies in the win category this season. It’s hard to win consistently in the B1G when half of your two-deep is comprised of true and redshirt freshmen.

Having key contributors like Elijah Sindelar (QB), Rondale Moore (WR), Tario Fuller (RB), Lorenzo Neal (DL) and Markus Bailey (LB) injured doesn’t help, either.

But as much as we could talk about the negative of this season, there’s actually been quite a few positives on the field. And, yes, it extends past the simple “at least they’re getting experience” type of commentary. Purdue’s freshmen have been making a serious impact this season.

Defensive end George Karlaftis — the highest-rated Purdue commit in 2019 — has been a starter since the season opener. The former four-star recruit has already tallied up five sacks this season, tied with Miami’s Gregory Rousseau for most by a freshman this year. He’s also registered 10.5 tackles for loss and 33 total stops.

Wide receiver David Bell has been named the B1G Freshman of the Week in back-to-back weeks, totaling more than 100 receiving yards in his last two games. Against Iowa, he finished the day with 197 yards and a touchdown on 13 receptions. He currently sits second among B1G receivers, with 635 yards and four touchdowns on 39 catches.

Running back King Doerue is the team’s leading rusher with 252 yards and three touchdowns. Defensive back Cory Trice intercepted two passes against Maryland, including one pick-six in a 40-14 win. Jack Plummer has already thrown for over 1,200 yards since stepping in for the injured Sindelar.

All freshmen. All playmakers.

It’s not simply that Purdue’s young talent is logging a significant number of snaps this season, but they’re also making a considerable impact on a weekly basis. Purdue is on its way to having a young-but-experienced roster for the 2020 season.

Perhaps even more notable than anything previously mentioned is the fight Brohm’s Boilers have shown through the first seven games of the year. Yes, it’s a pretty insignificant feat right now, but that crystal ball tells us that having that grit and playing with an edge will serve this program well moving forward.

Purdue trailed Minnesota 38-17 in the fourth quarter of its B1G opener, but was able to close the gap to a touchdown difference with four minutes left in the game before eventually falling 38-31. Last week, the Boilermakers played No. 23 Iowa down to the final second, falling 26-20 to the Hawkeyes on the road.

Even against Penn State, Purdue held the Nittany Lions to just 14 points in the final three quarters after falling behind 21-0 in the first 15 minutes. PSU went on to claim a 35-7 victory.

Right now, none of this means anything. Purdue is sitting 2-5 and close to having its bowl bubble popped in the next few weeks. A season that began with so much hope and excitement is ending with disappointment and frustration.

After what Brohm accomplished in his first two years — and with Rondale Moore returning and a top 25 recruiting class coming in — it’s understandable.

But it’s time for Purdue fans to forget all about the expectations that were placed on this team coming into the season. They were probably a little too high in the first place, too be honest. Instead, stop worrying about the final score on Saturday afternoons. Ignore the record or where the Boilers end in the B1G standings. It’s likely not going to be pretty.

Enjoy the young product that’s on the field right now. Watch as it matures each Saturday over the final month of the season. Start thinking about the damage this team can do in the future — as early as next August. Things are going to get a lot better in West Lafayette.